His recent feat, which has been recognized by the renowned Guinness record-keeping association, and which has been confirmed by airline officials on each leg of his journey, had Dr. Shochi traveling to 12 cities in 9 nations across North America, Europe and Africa.
“In my whole life, I have never said ‘I’m tired.’ One of the secrets of longevity is to enjoy being in the moment. I am enjoying this time of my life and am determined to travel more,” Dr. Shichi said with a big smile as dozens of supporters hailed his return at Fukuoka airport in southwest Japan.
Dr. Shochi continued: “I am forever grateful to my mother, who constantly encouraged me and brought out the best in me despite the fact that I was often sick, and that I failed my examinations to enter middle school and high school. Her words never left me: ‘You may not be intelligent like your other brothers, but you have other merits such as guts, a pro-active spirit and a willingness to put forth effort.’”
Dr. Shochi, a professor emeritus at Fukuoka University of Education, started traveling frequently at age 99, delivering lectures internationally on child education and health. Among his many accomplishments, he is an expert at creating educational toys out of recycled materials, such as milk cartons, cake boxes, toilet paper rolls, etc., and frequently his lectures include a demonstration of these items.
The centenarian embarked on his eighth round-the-world excursion, departing Fukuoka on July 16 and returning on August 16, his 106th birthday.
The purpose of his trip was to attend the 30th International Congress of Psychology (ICP 2012) at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, July 22–27. Dr. Shochi delivered his presentation titled “Psychological Study of a Handmade Toy Method in Nursing Homes,” which chronicles the results of a process whereby nursing home patients participate in occupational therapy with young children by constructing toys out of recycled materials. Dr. Miyako Okada of Nagoya, Japan, and Dr. Song Yongning from Kyushu (Japan) University, have been collaborating on the project with Dr. Shochi for the last several years.
Dr. Shochi’s itinerary included lecturing on “Support and Education for Autistic Children” at the University of British Columbia; the Japanese society of Canada; Tokuda Hospital in Sofia, Bulgaria; and the Pavlov Institute of Physiology in St. Petersburg, Russia.
In order to verify his circumnavigation record, Guinness World Records required Dr. Shochi to receive certification by pilots and flight attendants, along with their comments. Since his entire trip entailed sixteen separate flights, Dr. Shochi garnered 32 certificates and more than 50 signed comments from the various airline personnel